My name is Pfc. Regan Riggs and I'm a cavalry scout serving as a unit public affairs representative for 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia.
I had the privilege to sit in on 2nd ABCT's Mind's Eye II train-the-trainer course from Jan. 18 - Feb. 1.
Mind's Eye II is an Army program that focuses on the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual assault within the Army. It is also a program that was developed for Soldiers, by Soldiers here at Fort Stewart and was adapted from the current Bystander Intervention Training.
So why another program? How is this program different from the already existing programs?
Before I took this course, I thought of two perspectives of sexual assault/harassment -- the victim and the offender. After observing Mind's Eye II, I learned that bystanders play more of a role than I thought.
Another difference between Mind's Eye II training and other programs is the trainers do not have to be a certain rank to be facilitators. Unit leaders chose their most influential Soldiers in their formation in order to give Soldiers a level of comfort and trust within their ranks.This program is an interactive approach to leader training focused on individual decision making and professional identity.
Monique Ferrell, director of the Army's SHARP Program, explained to me that this program would essentially be the Army's primary prevention initiative to prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault. Instead of sexual harassment and sexual assault being the focal point, Mind's Eye II would illustrate to Soldiers what "right" looks like, in hopes of changing the culture and stopping problems before they manifest. The intended goal is to increase positive and healthy behaviors by targeting prevention at all levels of the total force.
During class, the instructors gave us several scenarios and asked us what we would do if a situation would occur. I realized that I had no idea what I would or should do. One thing I realized was that the outcome could be dependent on whether or not I decided to be a silent bystander.
I distinctly remember one of the Soldiers saying, "If you do nothing, you are just as guilty as the offender."
This phrase stuck with me. I felt convicted.
How could I be guilty if I simply choose to mind my own business and not intervene? Well, the answer is simple.
Sexual assault affects Soldier's trust, cohesion, unity, and esprit de corps. I am responsible for protecting my brothers and sisters anytime and anywhere.